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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Barking mad

Bark bark bark bark bark.

If she doesn’t shut the fuck up, I’m going to lose my mind. And that is an understatement. This morning, particularly, I felt on the verge of cracking up. Let me explain why more specifically.

Butthead.

I know, you’re thinking, she’s just a dog! How difficult can that be?

Butthead has had some issues with her housebreaking, as I have explained prior. So we moved to use a crate to help with the housebreaking. We have crated a dog before (SP) with success. And in fact, after getting used to the crate, SP loved it. She truly used it as a den and often escaped in there to sleep with the door open, day or night, no matter what house we lived in. She loved it. With Le Moo, we did not have any accidents in the house, so we never had to use a crate. Butthead gets a crate. If you’ve never crate or kennel trained, I know you’re thinking how awful it must be, but trust me, there are times when it is necessary, and dogs really do love their “den” if it is introduced properly and used properly. It is not for punishment, it is a “safe” place for them to be.

Anyway, I introduced the crate to Butthead properly, and she was going in and out of it easily. She now knows the command to go in her crate and is generally happy to do so because she gets something tasty in there. And at this very moment, she is ensconced safely in her happy place, snoozing away without a care in the world. The crate is on the first floor because we are still not allowing her upstairs at this point. The problem? Her happiness in said “den” does not extend to our sleeping hours.

The first night she went in, she literally threw herself against the side of the crate trying to get out. She cried and barked and made a terrible ruckus. We took her out to make sure she didn’t have to go to the bathroom, then put her back in the crate. She cried and barked a lot, but settled at some point. Each night following, she would eat the frozen stuffed treat we gave her, then start barking. It started at about an hour’s worth of barking, then she would settle down. Over the course of several days, the length of barking time decreased (we didn’t go check on her because that would teach her that barking made us come to her), to the point that Wednesday night she only barked for about 10 minutes before she settled down. I was so excited, I can’t even tell you, because she would also bark in the mornings after Hub left for work, so any chance at me getting some extra Z’s in the morning was zero.

So last night she goes into the crate with her frozen stuffed treat, and there’s no noise. No barking, no moving around, nothing. Victory! An hour goes by, still no peep from her. It’s awesome, we’re golden. I turn off the light and try to get to sleep. Fifteen minutes later…

Bark bark bark bark bark.

Sonofabitch. But I figure, okay, she’s going to bark for a few minutes, but hopefully it’ll be quick.

Bark bark bark bark bark screeching bark, bark bark bark.

Hub rolls over and I hear him grumbling. Over an hour goes by with the constant barking. I’m not sleeping, Hub isn’t sleeping. Le Moo chimes in with a little barking here and there, then goes quiet. I suspect she can’t sleep either. Finally, Butthead stops. She was probably exhausted. I drift off for what feels like ten minutes (but was probably closer to an hour or ninety minutes)…

Bark bark bark bark baaaaaaaaaaark barkity barkity screechity bark.

Hub mumbles “maybe she really has to go?” This is the first time she’s actually barked in the middle of the night, and we did give her deworming medicine after dinner. So we figure just to be safe, he’ll go take her out. He waits for her to stop barking for a few minutes (so she doesn’t associate his arrival with her barking), then he goes to take her out. She only pees, then he puts her back in the crate. Hub is barely back in bed when she starts barking again. I am near tears, Hub is livid, we’re both exhausted. He tells me he can’t take another second, so he leaves bed and throws on shorts and a tee shirt and he disappears. That is the last I see of him until 6:15 am when he comes up to turn off his alarm before it goes off. He put Butthead on a leash and he slept on the couch in the family room with her laying on the floor next to him. If she had moved (like to go pee on the carpet) she would have woken him. He does his morning routine with them, gets himself together, and heads off to work.

Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark barkbarkbarkbarkbark.

Holy fucking hell in a handbasket. I can feel the anxiety buzzing through me at an alarming rate. My stomach is upset, my back hurts, my arms and shoulders hurt. I’m laying in bed but there’s no comfortable position. I’m so damn tired I can’t even see straight. Butthead barks for over an hour this morning. She finally gives up around 8:45am, but I am completely and utterly awake. Exhausted, but awake.

I make her wait to leave the crate until I am ready to let her out. She already peed and pooped at 6:15 so there is no rush. When I let her out, we go outside right away. She pees and wanders like normal and we go inside. The morning goes normally, but after I eat lunch, I put her back in the now sheet-covered crate (so it feels more den-like) with a treat, then I set up the doggy lullaby CD playing. I come upstairs to my office. Like I said earlier in the post, she’s fine. She hasn’t made a peep, no barking, no moving around. She’s snug and happy. WTF.

What is it that sets her off? Is it HUB leaving her? Is it the space we put the crate in? Is it too open and she doesn’t feel protected? (this is why I put the sheet over it today) I mean, it can’t be separation anxiety because I’m up here (with Le Moo) and she’d down there, exactly the same as at night and in the mornings, except for Hub. I don’t know, I just know I’m losing my fucking mind.

I’m sorry for the cursing. I don’t do it a lot, but that’s where my frame of mind is today. The weekend is here and at least Hub will be around during the day to help me with the dogs, but I still feel overwhelmed and under-slept. Which isn’t even a word, I know. We have a trainer coming to work with us for Butthead, hopefully starting next week, but even that is going to be a process. And it’s going to take time. And more patience.

But good grief, if we can just get past the freaking barking all night and all morning. Please, I need some sleep, desperately.

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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, hub, stress

 

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Feed me, Seymour

Since Hub and I moved into our first house–versus the townhouse I owned before we got married–we’ve been doing mother’s day at our house. We’ve vacillated between brunches and cookouts, depending on our whim and potentially on the availability of both of our families. Hub’s mother lives locally but his father does not, so we took to hosting mother’s day so that we could have both our families together to celebrate. Father’s day was hosted at my parents’ house when my grandparents were alive, but after that we started going out to a restaurant. My father loves to go out, so it was a natural progression.

Several years ago, one of my brothers announced that he wanted to plan father’s day, since we do mother’s day, which was A-OK with me. Since then, he’s been planning the outings to the restaurants, which I suspect mostly had to do with the fact that his wife has some food allergy issues, and they wanted to stick to restaurants where she could feel safe in ordering her food. I totally get that because of my gluten free issues, so we all went along with their preferences. Even though it was always the same restaurant and it kind of sucked…we accommodated their issues without complaining.

This year mother’s day kind of got zapped because of my aunt’s illness. My parents were with my aunt in the hospital near her house, but Hub and I had his family over for the cookout anyway. My brothers did not attend, preferring to allow Hub to spend the time with his family. About two weeks before father’s day, my brother contacted me to say he and his wife thought we should re-do the cookout on father’s day and call it “parent’s day” so that we could celebrate both for my mom and dad. Fine idea, I thought, until the implication was that Hub and I should host. I nipped that idea in the bud, pretty much telling them it would be so great for them to host the “parent’s day” since it was their idea. To their credit, they accepted that with grace and set about doing whatever they needed to in order to host the cookout.

Let me note quietly that my brother and his wife do not cook. They exist on cold cereal, scrambled eggs or omelets, and PB&J. I’ve tried to explain how easy it is to use the crockpot they got as a gift for their wedding, but to no avail. When they got married and moved into their house, they bought a nice big new grill, but they never use it. Grilling is soooo easy. Food meet heat. Done. Nope. So we were sort of assuming that my other brother would end up manning the grill on father’s day. Which is exactly what happened.

Anyway, when we got to their house, we immediately offered to help with last minute things, like cutting up veggies to put on the grill and such. My brother asked if I wanted hot dogs or chicken and I said chicken. My SIL showed me the marinade she used on my piece of chicken, so I could see it was gluten free. I thought that was very kind of her (we always make sure to avoid her allergens when she comes to our house, of course!), especially considering it meant she had to pre-think things when she’s not accustomed to cooking for people. So I felt comfortable eating what I ate, including the chicken and the raw veggies with hummus dip, etc. I pretty much know what is safe and what might not be, and I avoid the things I have any concern over. If I don’t have enough to eat, I just eat when I get home. It’s how my life pretty much works, though technically I don’t eat at a lot of other people’s houses these days. My mother always has safe food for me…that’s pretty much the only home cooking I will eat. If we have to go to an event, I gravitate toward turkey (people almost always serve turkey for sandwiches) and just eat the meat alone. It’s a pretty safe bet.

Anyway, I generally never eat dessert because people (and restaurants) always have cakes, pies, cookies, and the like. All flour-filled. So I resign myself to skipping the sweets at the end of the meal. It’s okay, I survive. If I want sweets, I eat them at home, even though I don’t do too much of that anymore either. I am really okay with it. So when the cake came out at my brother’s house, I figured I would do what I always do and say no thank you. They started cutting cake and like always, my dad pushed a piece toward me (he never remembers that I don’t eat anything made with flour–it’s like a blank spot in his brain) but I said “no thank you”. My SIL waved her hand and said, “No, it’s okay! It’s gluten free!”

My jaw hit the table. I knew she’d ordered the cake for mother’s day, then put it in the freezer when the day got scrubbed. I had no idea she had even considered that she could order a gluten free cake from somewhere. I’ve never done it…cake just isn’t that exciting to me to do it. But I know there are a couple of bakeries that do offer gluten free cakes. I was actually really touched that she went through the trouble (and expense) to do so, so I immediately pulled the cake toward me and had a bite. I told her how good it was, though really it was more about her effort than the cake–which was vanilla and kind of dry. But I ate the whole piece and we all had a conversation about how it tasted pretty normal and how surprising that was.

We came home after the evening was over and I sent my SIL an email before I went to bed, thanking her for thinking of me and seeing to it that I had enough gluten free food to eat. I wanted her to know that I was appreciative of the efforts she made.

The next day I was feeling kind of off, but I attributed it to the cold I’ve been fighting for four days. Then I decided to look up the bakery she ordered the cake from to see what else they offered. But there was no mention of gluten free cakes on their website, and the company had no mention in the gluten free registries I knew of. So I emailed the bakery to ask if they offered gluten free cakes because a friend had said they ordered one from them. Their response? “Sorry, no. Try Whole Foods?”

I was dumbfounded. But then I thought maybe I remembered the wrong bakery name, so I emailed my SIL to ask which bakery she used, so I could keep their name for the future. She emailed me back today and confirmed the bakery name–it was the one I emailed who said they don’t do gluten free cakes.

So I’m all sorts of upset and confused. I didn’t have the normal reaction immediately after eating, but I did feel badly the next day. I haven’t had wheat in so long that it’s possible my reactions have changed and/or lessened, I don’t know. What I do know is that this whole thing makes me so upset. Is it possible my SIL lied? Misremembered? Didn’t care and just said “Oh sure it’s GF!” I didn’t ask her, she jumped in and reassured me the cake was gluten free. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt because she has pretty severe allergies and should understand that having a reaction is a bad thing…but I don’t understand. I don’t understand how this happened.

I feel a lot of distress over this issue. Do I tell her? Do I ask her what happened? Do I let it go? It ramps up my anxiety about eating somewhere other than my own home because people don’t get it. I thought she would because of her own issues, but it didn’t seem to be that way in the end. I’m upset. I’m upset and anxious over what to do about it. I don’t want to accuse her of anything, but this is hurtful to me. I would have been 1000% happier to have just said “no thank you” to the cake and not had to deal with any of this. But she was so adamant that the cake was gluten free, how could I have known to be wary? Do I tell my brother? Do I ask him if he knows if she mis-remembered the bakery name?

I am so stressed out over this, on top of all the stress I’m already dealing with over the dogs. And the cold I am fighting. And the sleep I’m not getting. I want to go cry in a corner.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in anxiety, family, food, gluten free

 

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It might go well or not or I don’t know

Recently I wrote this:

By the time this posts, things will either have gone really well or gone really poorly. Or somewhere in the middle. Or we’ll still be in the middle of figuring it out. Jeez, that was so not helpful.

Yeah, so not helpful. I mean, that’s pretty much life, right? It either goes well, goes poorly, or is still in motion. As I wrote it, it was like an odd epiphany. There it is. Good, bad, middle. It was like a “duh” moment when I was typing it. I feel like it was important that I wrote it and that I acknowledged it. I wish it had helped me more, though.

I told T in a recent session that I feel like I’m able to see the things I’m doing, notice what I’ve said or something that triggers me, but I don’t know how to change it. She told me then maybe I’m not ready to change those things. How frustrating to hear because I feel like I am ready and wanting. It’s so difficult to see what you are doing wrong and not be able to make the change to make myself better.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in anxiety, change, questions

 

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A dog’s eye view

I have not blogged in almost two weeks. I know you don’t know that because there hasn’t been a blip in my scheduled blogs. Actually, as I was writing that, I realized I posted two quick things, but they were mostly links and not really blogs, so they don’t count.

So here’s the thing about the thing. We picked up New Dog almost two weeks ago. (Hence the lack of posting…) And since then, we (read ME) have been cleaning up pee and poop in the house, as well as fairly constantly picking up poo from the yard. Additionally, I have spent the majority of my time out of my regular office space (which is upstairs) and in the main living area of our house. Why? Because first two full days we had Butthead (previously known as New Dog) she peed in our bedroom, then peed and pooped in the spare room next door, then peed in Hub’s media room. (As if to prove her lack of trustworthiness, she went to squat and pee in the media room again tonight, right in front of Hub and his friend…but we think he caught her before she actually did anything. *sigh*) We’ve since started crate training her and keeping her on the main level of the house where most of the areas are tile. We’ve also closed off the majority of rooms that are carpeted (poor Le Moo, she loves sleeping in those rooms during the day) until we can better trust Butthead to keep her bodily functions OUTSIDE. We’ve also begun interviewing trainers because Butthead has a distinct lack of manners (training) and that needs to be rectified. We’ve “basic” trained other dogs to do what we required of them, but Butthead is following Le Moo around, cutting her off at the pass and shoulder-bumping her out of the way for almost everything. She is also getting in Le Moo’s face a lot, and we need to be able to better curb that with betterĀ  manners and less UH UH corrections. It’s no fun–for us or her–to spend our days going UH UH over and over again. Also, did I forget to mention that Butthead enjoys rolling in things outside? *sigh*

She’s a good dog, basically, but needs to learn her manners a bit more. I am happy to report that she was successfully introduced to Cray-cray Lab middle of last week, and they have played three or four times. Cray-cray seemed thrilled initially, but now seems a bit reserved. I think she realized that BH is not going to be a pushover like Le Moo, and gives her a run for her money in the chasing and biting department (in play of course). Also, BH seems to want to play every single time she sees Cray-cray Lab. Which I find highly amusing because that’s the way Cray-Cray Lab is with Le Moo, but now that BH is doing it to her, she doesn’t find it so much fun. HAW HAW HAW

I am eternally exhausted at this point. The first couple of days of the first week I was alone with BH and Le Moo, I was getting up when Hub was leaving for work, which is pretty early for me. Even when I was not sleeping after he left in the morning, I could at least languish in bed and doze on and off. But with BH on the loose, I had to be awake and aware of where she was from the moment Hub left the house until the moment he got home to relieve me from my watch. When we started crate training BH, Hub was able to feed the dogs and let them out, then put BH back in the crate for another couple of hours so I could try to sleep a bit. However, I’m still exhausted because being on constant alert for housebreaking incidents is fucking tiring ya’ll. And being on constant watch for BH to be bugging Le Moo is enough to make me want to cry by 2pm.

So the fear part? BH is extremely thin from her life on the street. So far, she has not seemed to gain any weight. She had been checked over by our vet the day after she arrived and was pronounced in good health. Vet said “she could use 4 or 5 pounds” to which Hub and I scoffed. She needs at least 10-12 pounds, but Vet is overly weight-conscious (which I understand to a point, esp with big dogs who have joint issues to start with) for his clients. So along with the fact that BH is not gaining weight as quickly as I would like (and I feel like she is LOSING weight, but am not sure if that is fear/paranoia or what), it seems like she’s losing hair in one area of her side. We thought at first it was amusing how these tufts of hair were popping off her body. We’re dog people, we’ve seen this kind of fur before with the popping tufts (Le Moo has more long “hair” than “fur”), so we weren’t surprised. Then yesterday I realized that the area where the tufts were coming from seemed to have gotten alarmingly thin. So now I’m freaked out about that. Hub didn’t see it last night since he worked late, but I am definitely going to show it to him tonight. He might agree with me, he might not, we’ll see.

And now the guilt and grief part. For the first four days that BH was with us, I continuously called Le Moo by SP’s name. I think it was the stress of having BH and being overwhelmed by all of it, plus the fact that Le Moo is none too thrilled to have this intruder in her home. She’s been rather withdrawn and has had a distinct lack of enthusiasm for pretty much anything and everything. She’s barely staying in the same room with BH (where initially she refused to do so at all), and has shown her preference to be outside only when BH is not out there, if you please thank you very much. But anyway, I called Le Moo SP multiple times, and then had to actually stop and think of using the right name almost every time. It was terribly painful for me because I felt the loss of SP all over again, multiple times a day, and I felt disloyal to Le Moo. In fact, I feel disloyal to Le Moo a lot with BH in the house.

I’m so tired.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, fear, grief, guilt, Le Moo

 

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Memories, like the corners of my mind

Thunderstorm season is upon us. We’ve had some here and there, but the past week or two has seen them increasing in intensity and length. It used to be I dreaded the storm season because SP was pretty severely storm and noise phobic…

July 4th was always a struggle, but because it was fairly predictable, we learned how to handle it. Well, better than thunderstorms. There’s no way to predict storms, both before or during a storm, so it was terribly difficult to help SP with her issues. She would pant and drool and tremble and pace and try to climb on our head. We could see her eyes glaze over and panic ensue. She was having a doggy panic attack, I think. Initially, her phobia was manageable, but as the years progressed, so did her phobia. At some point, after trying everything we could, we resorted to medication. With her increasing age, the noise phobia turned into a more general noise issue which lasted year round. We moved from medicating her during the storm season to keeping her on a low dose of the medication all year. The medication helped take the edge off, both during storms and all year, but it didn’t take away all the symptoms. Later in SP’s life, the Thundershirt was developed. We tried to replicate it with a tee shirt and ace bandages, but it was a struggle to race her into the “outfit” when the storms were approaching. So we finally broke down and bought the Thundershirt and gave it a try. It was actually surprising how well it worked. No question, she still had symptoms of the fear, but they were lessened by a great amount. We kept her on the medications, but the Thundershirt was an adjunct, and putting it on became secondhand to me. We used it so frequently during storm season that muscle memory allowed me to wake up at 2 in the morning and put it on her without even opening my eyes. With the Thundershirt, I felt reassured that SP was handling the storms more easily.

When SP passed, we packed the shirt away with the rest of her things. We have not re-used any of her items for Le Moo. Neither hub nor I could bear it.

We got Le Moo in November (Moovember?) of 2011, so storm season was past. Le Moo is not nearly as delicate or sensitive as SP was. When it rained heavily during SP’s old age, she needed her Thundershirt or she would progress to semi-panic mode. With Le Moo, rain didn’t disturb her at all. Storm season 2012 seemed okay with Le Moo. She sometimes gave a little bit of a cry, and sometimes she tried to dig at the carpet a little. But she was distractable and the distress was so mild that we hardly saw any issues. This season, her distress has seemed to increase somewhat, though again she can be distracted (SP would never ever ever take food during a storm, and there was no way to distract her…she was “gone”, disappeared into her panic) most especially with frozen peanut butter and/or pumpkin mush in a toy. But without distraction, she cries and hides and will dig at the carpet. SP required constant contact with one of us somehow, but Le Moo seems to prefer to hide somewhere…preferably the basement, which we don’t usually allow her in alone because of all hub’s stuff scattered all over. Anyway, I figured we should go ahead and order Le Moo a Thundershirt so we can try to catch this distress early and help her deal with it.

The Thundershirt arrived before yesterday’s (short) thunderstorm, but we hadn’t had a chance to acclimate her to the shirt. Le Moo doesn’t wear clothing, and some animals don’t understand the idea of it. So it’s best to introduce the shirt slowly, and have the dog wear it initially when he or she is calm, so they associate it with good, calm feelings. So we went through Tuesday’s storm with the prerequisite frozen treat and some basement time. Today, I figured I’d better get her into the shirt, so she can get used to it.

After I have lunch, Le Moo gets Cheerios in a treat dispenser toy in our bedroom. It was initially a “bribe” to get her to come upstairs with me during the day (my office is up here), but now it has become her routine. Sadly, she rushes upstairs to get the toy and O’s, but once she’s done she disappears. She’s really independent… So I watched her like a hawk with the toy today, and when she was done I went over and began wrapping her in the shirt. If you’ve never seen a Thundershirt, you’d be surprised at how complex it looks with all the “arms” and velcro and stuff. And apparently, the version I purchased (pink and embroidered with her name!) is a bit different from the original. But muscle memory did take over somewhat, and I had her in the shirt without too much trouble. At least, not physically.

The act of putting the shirt on her was incredibly difficult for me. It brought back such distinct memories of SP, and how much she needed me during the storms. I used to sit with her during storms, not really talking but just giving her the physical contacted she required. There were many times I sat on the floor in the middle of the night with her, even when my body protested the idea with pain. It could take hours to get through a storm, and day or night I was with her. Didn’t matter to me if it started at 2am and lasted until 6am…or if it went from 3pm and lasted until after dinner. I stayed with her. Hub and I changed our life for her, hardly going out during the storm season so she never had to be alone and afraid. The one time we had to be out of the house–both of us–was for a family wedding, and we hired someone to come sit with her because there were storms predicted.

When we adopted Le Moo, we thought our days of watching the weather maps were over. I hope with the Thundershirt that will be the case, but it remains to be seen. Even so, just the act of putting on that Thundershirt and seeing Le Moo in it is painful for me. Even though SP’s Thundershirt was the original gray color, and Le Moo’s is hot pink and orange, the visual is the same for me. I thought the different coloring would help, but it has not. The grief is gripping, strong and painful, reminding me of the years we had with SP, the things that will never be again. When it storms, I still talk to SP in my head, telling her I’m sorry I can’t be with her to comfort her.

I’m not sure how Le Moo is going to take to the Thundershirt. She seemed perplexed when I put it on her, but after a minute of a minor bit of massaging (and butt scratching–her favorite kind of petting), she trundled down the stairs as usual. We’ll see if she’s still enrobed when I go looking for her in about an hour. I don’t want her in it too long the first time, but the shirt is meant to be worn all the time if necessary. Though honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it outside on a hot day just because it is another layer for them. But in the house (and especially our nicely cooled house), she would be perfectly fine.

It is kind of surprising to me how much the Thundershirt has triggered grief for me. I am resisting curling up in a ball to cry because I know it would do me no good. But my heart hurts with the loss of my Sweet Petunia.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in anxiety, dogs, grief, Le Moo, thunderstorm

 

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For anyone hurting

Another link I want to share. Please pass it forward.

http://mashable.com/2013/06/18/for-anybody-hurting/

Please be sure to watch the video. It is worth it.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in anxiety, depression, fear, grief, link, suicide

 

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Can you spot the differences?

I am different. I use the word “weird” but would also consider “unique.” I don’t mind being different…most of the time. At least, that’s what I tell myself (and others). But I suspect that deep down, I don’t like it so much.

Let’s start with my family. I was different from birth, in that my three older siblings are all boys. Also, my brothers might as well be (but are not really) named Joe, Bob, and Sam. While I might as well have been named Anuetola. No one ever misspells my brothers’ names, and yet I’ve spent my life spelling mine out to people so they get it right. No one ever mispronounces their names, but mine is always fumbled. I was always fat…at least as far back as I can remember. My brothers were not. I hated sports and being outdoors, and yet my brothers played all kinds of sports and our family vacations were often spent camping. I looked like my dad, while my brothers seemed to look like my mom or relatives on her side.

Growing up, my mother had hoped I would play with baby dolls and tea sets, but I preferred my Barbies and all their various accessories…large and small. My brothers has lots of friends, I mostly had one or two, or none. I was the loner, the quiet one, the one most likely to burst into tears. My brothers had friends and played voraciously with neighborhood kids. I excelled in school, even when I didn’t really try, while my brothers seemed to work hard and produce lesser grades. It was like I didn’t belong to my family…

As an adult, I was still the fat child while my brothers and cousins all remained average size. I was the one who took apart the computer and set the pieces out on her bedroom floor while my brothers were dating and spending time with friends. I was the female who went into a male-dominated profession, something my brothers didn’t have to contend with. I was the girl who changed the oil in her car when most women I knew didn’t know how.

The thing is, not everyone reading this will see all these as “differences,” and many of you may think these are minute and not worth noticing…but I am noticing. I was probably noticing back then, too. Does everyone feel this way? Do other people see how different they are from those around them? I know when I was an adolescent, that all I wanted to do was be “normal.” I didn’t want to be different. To me if you were different, you were not “normal”…and not normal meant wrong…and wrong meant bad.

Different meant bad.

Does it still? How many times have I told people I’m weird or different? How many times have I rushed to use the words before someone else did, like I was attempting to beat them to the punch…to prove to them and myself that being categorized that way meant nothing to me.

I’m big on semantics most of the time, I like the use the right word that means the right thing to me. Often in conversation I will define why I chose one word over another. T told me that I was unique, I said “weird.” She told me that “weird” has a negative connotation to it, but I said it didn’t for me. That I’m okay being weird. Weird is not normal. Not normal is wrong, and wrong means bad. Am I doing this to myself? Am I using these words to hurt myself purposefully?

Arg. So many questions and yet I have no answers. I don’t know! T tells me using different words produces different chemicals in your brain. Being mindful of self-talk and the things you are thinking about yourself is important because the chemicals change based on what you’re saying to yourself, or thinking to yourself. Is my brain hearing these words as negative as I have said above?

I feel like I’m spinning my wheels here because I have no answers. I can change the words I use to describe myself, but I’m not sure I believe it will make a difference.

Unique not weird.

Curvy not fat.

Different not bad.

 

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